Canine Genetics Laboratory


The University of Missouri Canine Genetics Laboratory was established by Professor Gary S. Johnson in the 1980s to identify the molecular genetic basis of inherited disorders in dogs and to develop DNA screening tests for deleterious mutations that could be used by veterinarians for disease diagnosis and by dog breeders to screen their dogs prior to breeding.  Since its founding, the laboratory has identified over 70 disease-causing mutations in numerous dog breeds.  A list of our publications describing many of these discoveries can be found on our Publications page. With the help of dog owners and veterinarians, the laboratory continues to investigate the genetic basis for hereditary disorders in dogs.  The laboratory offers DNA screening tests for over 50 mutations and adds new tests as the need for them arises.  Dog owners and veterinarians are encouraged to contact us about dogs that appear to be suffering from a hereditary disorder.  Our primary research focus is on identifying mutations that result in neurological disorders, but we have also identified mutations responsible for a number of other types of disease, including connective tissue and cardiac disorders.

Our dedicated staff, based at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine in Columbia, Missouri, provide quality genetic testing to serve as a reliable resource for veterinarians, owners, breeders and other researchers. To view which tests we offer and to order a test, please visit the DNA Testing page. Some identified diseases are still in the research phase and no test is available at this time. We invite you to participate in research to speed the discovery of mutations, and make tests available for more diseases. For information on how to participate, please visit the Research page. While genetic testing can provide invaluable information, please remember that this information is not a substitute for an accurate diagnosis or specific advice geared to your pet’s needs. If you suspect your dog has one of the diseases for which DNA testing is available, we encourage you to have a veterinarian examine the dog and advise you.